السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته,
Today we’re looking at the 8th of the 15 types of nouns in نَصْب, which is اسْمُ لا (the noun that is negated by لا). There are several scenarios here, so you’ll have to pay attention to this one!
Negation using لا
اعْلَمْ أَنّ “لا” تَنْصِبُ النَّكِراتِ بِغَيْرِ تَنْوِيْنٍ إذا باشَرَتِ النَّكِرَةَ وَلَمْ تَتَكَرَّرْ “لا” نَحْوُ: لا رَجُلَ فِي الدّارِ
Know that لا nasb-izes indefinite nouns without tanwin if it is immediately before the indefinite noun and is not repeated, as in لا رَجُلَ فِي الدّارِ (“there is no man in the house”).
The categorical لا (used for negating the information in the khabar for an entire category) has the same effect as the إنّ family on a sentence (i.e. it nasb-izes a noun and makes it its ism and leaves the khabar in raf’). It is different from a لا that simply negates the truthfulness of the sentence. If these four conditions are present, it’s mandatory for this لا to have this effect:
- The ism (noun) has to be indefinite – if it’s definite, then we’re no longer talking about a category and it makes no sense to use لا this way
- لا has to be immediately before it (nothing can come between them, not even the khabar)
- The khabar of the sentence must also be indefinite
- The word لا is not repeated
اِسْمُ لا (The ism of لا)
The ism of لا can be:
- مُفْرَد (A single word) – Whatever is not a mudhaaf or something that resembles a mudhaaf. It will be in nasb using fathah or another indicator. It can be a singular noun, dual, broken plural, sound masculine plural or sound feminine plural. We’ll see this again when we do the مُنادى (the one who is called or addressed)
- لا رَجُلَ فِي الدّارِ (“There’s no man in the house”) – Using fathah for singular nouns and broken plurals
- لا رَجُلَيْنِ فِي الدّارِ (“There are not two men in the house”) – Using ي for duals and sound masculine plurals
- لا صالِحاتِ الْيَوْمَ (“There are no good women today”) – Using kasrah for sound feminine plurals
- Mudhaaf (added) to an indefinite noun – It will be in nasb using fathah or another indicator, as in لا طالِبَ عِلْمٍ مَمْقُوْتٌ (“There’s no student of knowledge who is loathed”)
- الشَبِيْهُ بِالْمُضاف – Resembles a mudhaaf. Something that completes the meaning of it will connect to it. It has the same rule as the mudhaaf. For example: لا مُسْتَقِيْماً حالُهُ بَيْنَ الناسِ (“There is no one whose condition is straight among the people”)
Dropping one of the conditions of obligating nasb
If we drop any of the four conditions above that make nasb mandatory for the word after لا, then nasb can become optional or even forbidden.
فَإن لَمْ تُباشِرْها وَجَبَ الرَّفْعُ وَوَجَبَ تَكْرارُ “لا” نَحْوُ: لا فِي الدّارِ رَجُلٌ وَلا امْرَأةٌ
If it (لا) does not immediately precede it (the noun), then raf’ and the repetition of لا are mandatory, as in لا فِي الدّارِ رَجُلٌ وَلا امْرَأةٌ (“There is not in the house a man, nor a woman”).
If the noun after لا is a definite noun (breaking condition #1), as in لا مُحَمَّدٌ زارَنِيْ وَلا بَكْرٌ (“No Muhammad nor Bakr visited me”) or something comes between it and the noun (breaking condition #2), its influence is voided (i.e. it won’t nasb-ize anything) and you’ll bring another statement that repeats the لا as in:
لا فِيْها غَوْلٌ وَلا هُمْ عَنْها يُنْزَفُونَ (“No bad effect is there in it, nor from it will they be intoxicated” [37:47])
فِيْها was brought forward and separates between لا and غَوْل, so we can’t put غَول in nasb. Instead, we leave it in raf’.
According to the wording in الآجرومية, you must bring this second statement that has a لا, but the stronger authentic opinion is that it’s simply more eloquent to do so (i.e. it’s okay to simply say لا فِي البَيْتِ رِجالٌ [“There are no men in the house”] but would be better to add something like وَلا نِساءٌ [“and no women”] ).
فَإن تَكَرَّرَتْ “لا” جازَ إعْمالُها وَإلْغاؤُها، فَإنْ شِئْتَ قُلْتَ: “لا رَجُلَ فِي الدارِ وَلا امْرَأةَ” وَإن شِئْتَ قُلْتَ: لا رَجُلٌ فِي الدَّارِ وَلا امْرَأةٌ
If لا repeats then both lettingلا have its effect or cancelling that effect are allowed. If you want, you can say لا رَجُلَ فِي الدارِ وَلا امْرَأةَ (“There’s no man in the house nor woman”) or if you want, you can say لا رَجُلٌ فِي الدَّارِ وَلا امْرَأةٌ.
If you repeat the word لا (breaking condition #4), it’s still allowed to have لا nasb-ize its noun (assuming the other conditions are still met). You’d say لا رَجُلَ فِي الدارِ وَلا امْرَأةَ (in nasb) or لا رَجُلٌ فِي الدَّارِ وَلا امْرَأةٌ (going with raf’ instead).
From the Quran
Below are some examples. Unless otherwise mentioned, it is mandatory for اسْمُ لا to be in nasb:
- لا إلهَ إلاّ اللهُ (“There is no deity [worthy of worship] except Allah”) [37:35]
- لا رَيْبَ فِيْهِ (“There is no doubt in it”) [2:2]
- لا خَلاقَ لَهُمْ فِي الآخِرَةِ (“There is no portion for them in the hereafter”) [3:77]
- فَلا رَفَثَ وَلا فُسُوْقَ وَلا جِدالَ فِي الْحَجِّ (“Then there is no approaching your wives, nor transgression, nor disputing during Hajj”) [2:197] – لا was repeated, but the choice was to keep the nouns in nasb
- لا عِلْمَ لَنا إلاّ ما عَلَّمْتَنا (“We have no knowledge except what you taught us”) [2:32]
- لا لَغْوٌ فِيْها وَلا تَأثِيْمٌ (“There’s no vain talk in it, nor sinfulness”) [52:23] – It’s okay to leave the nouns in raf’ because لا was repeated
An important point about the statement لا إله إلا الله: If you remember, one of the conditions for لا to nasb-ize a noun is that the khabar is indefinite. That means in the sentence لا إلهَ إلا اللهَ, the word الله cannot be the khabar of the sentence. Why? Because proper names are definite and you cannot have a definite khabar for an indefinite noun. So what’s the khabar then? It’s been dropped and we have to assume that it’s the word حَقٌّ (“true”). So the full meaning is:
لا إلهَ حَقٌ إلا اللهُ (“There is no [true] deity except Allah”)
اللهُ would be in raf’ as a grammatical substitute for حَقٌّ. This is why one needs to know the rules of the language before translating even simple sentences, especially one which is the foundation for the entirety of Islam!
- What effect does لا have on the noun its negating?
- What are the conditions that make this effect mandatory?
- How many situations can اسم لا (the ism of لا) be in?
- What’s the rule for when اسم لا is a single word?
- What’s meant by مُفْردَ (a single word) when we’re talking about اسم لا or calling out to someone?
- What’s the rule for when اسم لا is a mudhaaf or something that resembles a mudhaaf?
- What’s the rule if you repeat the لا?
- What’s the rule if the noun you’re negating with لا is a definite noun?
- What’s the rule if something comes between لا and the noun it’s negating?
Until next time, السلام عليكم
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